WASHINGTON, DC - Throughout 2016 dioceses across the country participated in three emergency appeals, donating over $7 million for support in response to natural disasters.
"The generosity of Catholics across the country to these appeals is a beautiful act of solidarity and mercy," said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on National Collections. "Those affected by these disasters found themselves suddenly in situations of dire need, and, as a community of faith, we have been able to provide some measure of relief and hope."
In January 2016, the 2015-2016 Calamities Collection was created in response to storms that hit the south and mid-west regions of our country during Advent 2015 and in anticipation of additional natural disasters in 2016. To date, this collection has raised $3.2 million from dioceses across the United States. Funds are being allocated as follows:
• 75% distributed to Catholic Charities USA to cover emergency assistance such as food, water, shelter, medical care and long-term recovery efforts.
• 25% to the USSCB to support affected dioceses with rebuilding and reconstruction needs. The National Collections' Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions has been tasked with administering the USCCB share of this collection.
In August 2016, the 2016 Louisiana Floods Collection was created in response to the extraordinary flooding occurring in southern Louisiana. To date, this collection has raised $3.8 million from U.S. dioceses. Funds from this special collection are being allocated as follows:
• 80% to Catholic Charities USA for immediate emergency needs and humanitarian relief.
• 20% to the USCCB to support the rebuilding and reconstruction needs of affected dioceses. The National Collections' Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions has been tasked with administering the USCCB share of this collection.
In October 2016, the Hurricane Matthew Collection was created in response to the disastrous category 4 hurricane that struck large portions of the Southeastern coast of the United States and countries in the Caribbean, especially Haiti. To date, approximately $326,000 has been raised from U.S. dioceses with more funds anticipated soon. Hurricane Matthew Collection funds are being allocated as follows:
• 30% to Catholic Relief Services for humanitarian efforts in the Caribbean in the form of water, food, shelter, and medical care, and to restore communities after widespread destruction.
• 25% to Catholic Charities USA for immediate humanitarian efforts in the United States as well as for long-term recovery efforts.
• 30% to the USCCB for pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church in the Caribbean. The National Collections' Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America will administer the USCCB collection portion designated for church rebuilding in this region.
• 15% to the USCCB for church reconstruction needs in the United States. The National Collections' Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions will administer the USCCB collection portion designated for church rebuilding here at home.
Emergency collection appeals are called for by the president of the USCCB, fund allocation decisions are made by the USCCB Executive or Administrative Committee and collection funds are administered by the USCCB Committee on National Collections. For more information on these emergency appeals or any of the other national collections, visit www.usccb.org/nationalcollections or call 202-541-3400.